Monday, April 15, 2024

Cat Lethargic And Not Eating

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What Are The Signs Of A Lethargic Cat

Cat Not Eating? A Vet Gives 10 Reasons Why

Youll likely notice other symptoms in combination with lethargy if your cat is sick. This will depend on the precise problem they are facing, but some of the common and more generalized symptoms of sickness you might notice include:

  • Increased Affection – Some cats seek reassurance from their owners when they are unwell, meaning clinginess and lethargy often go hand in hand.
  • Hiding Behaviors – Whereas some cats seek reassurance, most will retreat and hide when they are ill or in pain.
  • Weight Loss of Gain – Many illnesses will alter your cats appetite and activity levels which can result in weight loss or gain.
  • Dull Coat or Hair Loss – Pain and discomfort from sickness can cause cats to feel stressed often manifesting in as excessive self-grooming leading to hair loss.
  • Strange Sleeping Positions – Sick cats will often sleep in strange positions that relieve pain and pressure from the area of discomfort.

These signs alone are cause for concern, it is always best to contact your vet if your cat is displaying these behaviors, however, the following are some more serious signs that can accompany lethargy in cats and you should contact your nearest emergency vet for urgent care.

My Cat Is Lethargic: Whats Causing It

Lethargy is an abnormal amount of sleepiness or unresponsiveness.

This months blog will discuss lethargy in cats. Cats are infamous for sleeping most of the day, with short bursts of activity usually at night. When a cat becomes abnormally inactive and is sleeping even more than usual there might be cause for concern. Lethargy is defined as a pathological state of sleepiness or deep unresponsiveness and inactivity. Lethargy is a common complaint we hear from pet owners when their cat is sick. Signs of lethargy in cats include playing less, hiding or shying away from human contact, eating less and not grooming itself properly. Lethargy is not a very specific symptom and can be present in many different conditions.

In order to identify what is causing lethargy we have to take into consideration other symptoms the cat may be showing. The list of causes of lethargy is long, but with a detailed medical history from cat owners and appropriate examination and testing, we can usually identify the cause.

What To Feed A Sick Kitten

Depending on the age of the kitten, you can offer a milk replacement product or a high-quality canned or dry kitten food. The specifics of what you should feed a sick kitten depend on their age, so below are some guidelines for your kittens life stage. Remember to always offer plenty of fresh clean water in a clean bowl. Sometimes, providing extra water bowls can encourage a sick kitten to drink, so provide several spots to drink if you can.

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Symptoms Not To Sneeze At

If you notice your kitten has discharge coming from her eyes or nose, is sneezing, or is breathing heavily, she may have an upper respiratory infection. In many cases some simple antibiotics from your vet will resolve the problem if they suspect that the infection is anything other than viral. However, your vet may recommend doing some blood work to rule out that the upper respiratory infection is not linked to a more serious underlying problem like feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus , writes Pet Health Network. Although an upper respiratory issue may seem like something that you could treat at home, it is crucial that kittens with eye or lung symptoms see a vet as soon as possible.

Cat Emergencies That Need Immediate Vet Attention

How To Syringe Feed A Cat

In my role as an emergency veterinarian I treat some very sick cats. And I also meet some cat owners who feel very guilty. They wonder whether their cats might not have gotten so sick if they had recognized earlier that a problem was developing. Although some cat emergencies come on suddenly and are anything but subtle, it is true that many other cat emergencies start with vague symptoms.

It is certainly true that early recognition of subtle cat emergencies will improve the chances of a good outcome. But owners should not feel guilty if they fail to recognize these subtleties cats dont come with warning labels, and a person who doesnt know the symptoms cant be expected to recognize them . For instance, I owned cats including males for 25 years before I knew that any urinary irregularity whatsoever in a male cat could be an emergency.

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How To Help A Lethargic Cat Naturally

If your cat is getting older and acting lethargic, there are some natural remedies that may be able to keep their energy up. One 2020 study found that worms, when given CBD for their entire life, were significantly more active in their later life stages than their CBD free peers. They also lived, on average, up to 18% longer. We can’t say for sure that your cat will experience the same results, but as CBD works similarly on cats, humans, and worms, this is very encouraging. We make all-natural CBD oil for cats of all sizes. Its made with organically cultivated Colorado hemp and human-grade fractioned coconut oil. We also lab test our products to ensure they are safe for your cat. Exercising your cat more and serving them a healthier diet are also natural ways to keep them happy and healthy. Of course, if something more serious seems wrong with your cat, you might want to visit the vet. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with your feline’s health.

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Keeping Up With Your Kitty Care

Once your cat is properly diagnosed and a treatment plan is developed, it is important to follow through with all recommendations. If your kitty is prescribed medication and seems better after a few doses, keep giving her the medicine until the course is complete, and keep your follow-up appointment with the vet.

If your cat had fleas, be sure to deep-clean your house and vacuum the carpets well. Flea eggs can live in dark corners of your home for months. Since cats clean themselves and can ingest flea eggs it’s important to discuss with your vet the best methods for flea control and prevention in your individual household. Homes with several pets or a lot of carpet may require different flea control methods.

If your cat is having frequent digestive issues, she may be allergic or sensitive to something in your home or her cat food. While you’re in sick kitten care mode, try to keep her on one kind of vet-approved food, and also make sure other people in your home aren’t sneaking your cat tasty treats.

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Should I Call The Vet

If youve tried several of the options to get your cat to start eating again but they dont seem to be working, youll want to call your vet. If your cat refuses to eat, her body will begin relying on her fat stores. This puts additional strain on her kidneys, and if this goes on for too long can cause a dangerous condition called hepatic lipidosis, which can lead to liver failure.

Reaching out to your vet when you notice a change in eating habits is always a wise choice. The sooner you pinpoint the problem, the sooner your kitty will be back on track. Your vet can help treat your cat and also help formulate a feeding plan that will provide the nutrients your cat needs. If your cat has gone without eating for too long more extreme measuressuch as appetite stimulants, syringe-feedings or even placement of a feeding tubemay be necessary.

Is My Cat Lethargic How Can I Tell

How to Make a Cat eat and Drink when it is Sick

Observe your cat. Do they display any of the symptoms listed above? Try:

  • Playing with them if they dont seem as interested as normal, this may indicate a problem.
  • Rustling your regular treat bag if they come running to get a little snack, problem probably solved.
  • Offering them one of their favourite treats which has a strong aroma tinned fish is usually a good choice, perhaps salmon or tuna. This is particularly good to try if youre worried your cat is lethargic and not eating.

If they still dont seem keen to eat or move, it might be time to start thinking more seriously.

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Check Your Cat’s Teeth And Gums

Theres no NHS for pets. Veterinary care can be eye-wateringly expensive and most pets will need treatment for an illness or injury at some point in their life. Its difficult to think about your animals being hurt or unwell, but you need to ask yourself: what would you do if you were faced with a vet bill for hundreds or thousands of pounds?

Most cats will carry on eating no matter how painful their mouth is. However, looking at the teeth and gums is an essential part of checking your cat over, especially if theyve stopped eating, suddenly prefer a different food, or have changed how they chew.

If your cat allows it, try opening their mouth to look for broken teeth, areas of gums that are red or sore-looking, and teeth that are coated in grey-brown tartar. The molars, the big teeth at the back of the mouth, are the most likely to cause eating and chewing problems, so it’s logical to start here. You should also check for lumps on the tongue, a foul smell, and fleshy red spots on the teeth. These are signs of a painful tooth condition in cats called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions .

What Changes Should I Look For In The Litterbox

Both diarrhea and constipation are indicators of disease in cats. Diarrhea is usually easy to recognize in the litterbox, but constipation can be more problematic to notice. Small, hard, dry stools are never normal and are often an early indication of kidney disease.

Increased amounts of urine in the box indicate an of inability to properly conserve water and may mean that your cat is developing kidney or liver problems, or diabetes mellitus.

Read Also: How Long To Feed Kittens Kitten Food

Kitten Home Care Tips

Caring for a sick kitten can be a real challenge. They may need your attention and love for many things if the kitten is very young, they may or may not be able to regulate their temperature or even simulate their own bowel movements. Here are some tips for caring for a sick kitten depending on their age:

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Signs Of Severe Pain Or Obvious Distress

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Bring your kitty to an emergency vet immediately if you notice this one. Pain itself always warrants treatment, but it also can be a sign of more serious problems such as urinary obstruction or aortic thromboembolism . Symptoms of pain and distress include vocalizing , panting, hiding and overreacting to contact with a painful area.

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What Is The Treatment For A Cat Whos Not Eating Or Drinking

Treatment for a kitty whos refusing their food consists of two components: treating the underlying cause and providing supportive care.

Directly addressing the underlying cause is important to ensure the loss of appetite is truly resolved . Without treating the underlying cause, anorexia could return after supportive care is discontinued.

To determine why a cat stopped eating, a veterinarian will take a detailed history and perform a physical exam to check your pets overall health and look for any abnormalities that could explain the loss of appetite .

Diagnostic tests are commonly needed to reach a diagnosis, since these tests give your vet more information about whats going on inside your pets body. Common tests include:

  • A fecal check .
  • Bloodwork and a urinalysis.
  • X-rays or ultrasound.
  • Tests for infectious diseases.
  • Depending on your cats history and symptoms, additional testing may be recommended, such as biopsies or a food trial on a prescription diet.

Once a diagnosis is reached, targeted treatment is prescribed. For example, a cat with a bad tooth will be scheduled for a dental procedure to remove it, and a kitty whos stressed about a change in the home may be prescribed calming supplements.

Regardless of cause, supportive care is important to help a sick cat feel better, prevent complications of not eating, and promote healing.

Supportive care varies depending on a cats needs and symptoms, but common treatments include:

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Recovery Of Loss Of Appetite In Cats

It is important that you continue to observe your cat as its appetite increases at a steady, consistent rate. A lack of eating can lead to dehydration and abnormal salt and sugar levels, so be on the lookout for signs of these issues. Your cat may benefit from the likes of electrolyte or hydration supplements, which your vet will be able to recommend. If medication is given, always follow your vet’s instructions to prevent the illness returning.

If changes at home are to blame for your cat not eating, then you should also address with your vet on how best to manage the situation, such as in the case of bringing in a new pet or even having a baby. Be sure to follow up with your vet to make sure your cat’s eating habits are returning to normal, and if there are any indications that the anorexia has returned, take your pet in for another examination as soon as possible.

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What Changes Would I See In Overall Appearance

Cats that are not feeling well may just look a little off. The cat might sit in a hunched position, might not move as gracefully as before, might not lift its head properly, might have a head tilt, or might carry its tail in a different way than normal. Sometimes there is not any one thing that stands out, but instead a variety of subtle changes.

Dehydration is a common problem in cats that are not well. To see if your cat is dehydrated, gently grasp her skin near her shoulder blades, pull it up and away from her body, then let go. The skin should snap back into place right away skin that does not snap back into place, but stays tented up usually indicates dehydration, a condition that needs to be treated right away.

Cats that have some sort of chronic illness may develop slow and subtle weight loss that is only obvious when you actually run your hands along the ribs and spine. Cats that suddenly lose weight, particularly if they were previously overweight, are usually suffering from some sort of metabolic disease such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

What To Do If Your Cats Not Eating

Why Your Cat Won’t Eat and What to Do About It

Since cats as a species are quite good at hiding when they are in pain or not feeling well, its important to pay attention to any changes in your cats habits, especially when it comes to eating.

Contact your veterinarian if your kitten has not eaten for one to two days or if your adult cat has not eaten in two days.

Adult cats, especially those that are overweight, can develop a serious disease called hepatic lipidosis if they stop eating, so prompt action is important.

If your cat stops eating and also has these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately:

  • Hospitalization and fluid therapy

  • Medication to treat nausea or to stimulate the appetite

If your vet determines that your cat is healthy, but is just a picky eater, follow these tips:

  • Try feeding your cat foods with different textures, flavors, or shapes, and make sure to warm up wet foods if they have been refrigerated.

  • Buy only as much dry food as your cat will eat in a month, as some foods will go stale or become rancid if the package has been open for more than a month.

Its always best to know what is normal for your cat and to watch for signs that your cat is not eating so you know when to seek help.


  • Case LP, Daristotle L, Hayek MG, et al.Canine and Feline Nutrition: A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals. 3rd edition. Mosby Elsevier. Maryland Heights, Mo. 2011
  • Read Also: How Much Wet Food To Feed A Kitten

    Is Your Cat Drinking A Normal Amount

    Cats dont tend to drink much, so a reduction in drinking can be hard to spot. However, an increase in drinking is a common sign of an underlying health problem like diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism . You might also notice your cat urinating more than usual due to their increased thirst.

    If you aren’t sure if your cat is drinking a normal amount of water, you can measure the amount they drink from their bowl. However, if you suspect that they’re drinking more and they’re not eating, getting them to the vet without delay is usually the best course of action. Your vet might suggest testing a blood sample and urine sample to check for some of the conditions mentioned.

    Is My Cat Just Tired

    A lethargic cat can look similar to a cat who just needs a long nap, but there is an important difference.

    Tiredness is a temporary state that resolves with rest or sleep. If youre up too late, youll be tired the next day but will feel fine once you get some extra sleep.

    The same cannot be said for lethargy. Lethargic cats often do sleep more than normal, but their lethargy remains unless the underlying problem is addressed.

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